Provisional allocations of £500 million fund for LEPs to kick-start housing and infrastructure development published

Details of a £500 million fund to help kick-start housing and infrastructure development have been announced by the Government, along with a list of provisional allocations to each of the 38 local enterprise partnerships introduced by the coalition Government.

The Growing Places Fund will help 'get Britain building again' by covering up-front capital costs that are preventing projects getting off the ground, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said.

The £500 million Growing Places Fund will be available to help boost economic growth by getting the required infrastructure built to enable the creation of new jobs and homes by getting stalled projects moving again.

The Fund will put local businesses and organisations in the driving seat, with the 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships able to apply for the funding and then take decisions about what to prioritise locally.

Councils will support these plans with their technical and financial expertise - leaving Local Enterprise Partnerships free of red tape and better able to focus their attentions on ensuring the funds go to where they will be used most effectively.

And to ensure work can start straight away to help get Britain building again, all £500 million will be allocated from the end of January 2012.

The Growing Places Fund can be used to establish revolving funds to take forward a range of projects that can help facilitate economic growth, jobs and housebuilding in the local area, providing returns which can be re-invested locally. Through this, Local Enterprise Partnerships will be able to offer secure funding to developers in their area, making it quicker for projects to get off the ground but also securing a return on that investment for the local area.

Led by businesses and councils, the partnerships will make decisions on how the money is spent in their areas.
'The £500 million Growing Places Fund will unlock much-needed local infrastructure and get the homes we need built,' Mr Pickles said.

'It will be local enterprise partnerships, made up of the people and businesses who know their local areas best, who will decide where this cash boost will be spent. I now want to see these partnerships coming together and finding innovative ways to unlock local sites and help get Britain building again.'

The kind of projects which may be helped via the scheme include road network improvements and infrastructure to deal with flooding, enabling homes to be built.

Shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn said the announcement was an admission by the Government that abolishing regional development agencies (RDAs) was a 'mistake'.

'If this funding is simply to help the new local enterprise partnerships do some of the work that was previously done by the RDAs, unlocking and co-ordinating investment projects, but with much less funding, then people will feel short-changed,' he said.

'Given this Conservative-led Government's history of failure to get money to businesses that need it through the other schemes they've announced and reannounced, they should make sure that this time the money speedily gets to the local authorities, businesses and entrepreneurs who will be at the heart of the economic recovery the country desperately needs.'

Related stories